Questions to ask at a job interview in Australia

What? Another article on interview tips? Again…?!

There are thousands of interview tips out there. Can this article be any different? Well, we hope…

This article isn’t about how to respond to the questions you may get asked, but about the questions you could ask the interviewer so that you can learn about the company from their answers.

How do I know what questions matter and when? - You may ask. So here are some of the key things to remember when planning questions and tips on how to ‘interview’ your future employer.

1) Equip yourself with knowledge about the company

There is a diverse range of information that is good to help investigate your next employer, thanks to readily available information on the internet:

It is also important to note that certain things may not be found on the internet such as culture, team, career progression, etc. These are things that can be asked during an interview.

2) Ask about what matters to you most for your career

Avoid a long list of questions. Pick a few that are the most important to you to ask at the interview.

If you value stability and security then you may want to ask questions about the company’s growth, future plans, and retention rates. Something may spring to mind when you research the company you are getting the interview with, as per our first tip, above.

3) Make your interview a conversation

Build rapport with the interviewer, and don’t wait until the end to ask questions. By having a conversation rather than “being interviewed” you are able to keep a natural flow of conversation and ask the relevant questions at the right time.

For example, if the interviewer tells you about the size of the team you would be working with, you could follow-up with a question on maintaining team culture in a team of that size. This not only shows that you have done your homework about the company but also tells them you are interested in learning more about them.

4) Questions not covered during the interview can be asked at the end

If there is something that you want to know but didn’t have the chance to ask it during the conversation, the end of the interview is usually reserved for these questions.

One point to remember that is worth mentioning but slightly off point is: There is usually no need to ask about salary at the first interview. A salary should be negotiable, and you are disadvantaging yourself by giving the interviewer only 30-60 minutes to decide how much they want to offer you.

On the flipside, if the interviewer asks you about your salary expectations, you can reply ‘the market value I bring to the job role’. If pushed to give a number, provide a large range and say that this depends on the specific tasks, then turn the question around and ask the interviewer for the range that they were thinking of based on their knowledge of the role.

Additionally, try to avoid disclosing your most recent salary on the basis that it will not be a fair comparison due to salary only being one component of total remuneration.

5) Post interview reflection

Think back on what you learnt about the company from the interview based on what’s most important to you. Weigh that information in the order of what you value more. If what you think is important isn’t on offer, can other things compensate?

For example, if you prefer a job that keeps you on your toes, did the answer to whether there is a wide variety of tasks and responsibilities for the role or learning opportunities satisfy you? If not, what about the opportunities for internal promotion?

Asking valuable questions back to an interviewer gives them the impression that you weren’t just coming in for an interview to get a job, any job, you took a keen interest in them too and you value your own worth, so you won’t settle for just any offer.

One last thing to remember is, if you get an answer you don’t want to hear, one that sparks your fear, don’t shove that fear aside. Ask yourself ‘Do I really want to work here, and why?’ and if your instant answer isn’t a ‘YES…S! because…[insert what values to you most here]…‘, then you should think hard about going further in their recruitment process.

Trust your instincts and try to find out more if you can / need to, or tell them “thanks, but no thanks” and move on. After all, job interviews should be a two-way street. The company should pass your tests too.